15-17 May, Madrid 2013

The Madrid conference brought together speakers from the worlds of business and politics to discuss some of the issues faced by developers, designers and office occupiers home and abroad as delegates enjoyed the hospitality of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.

Starting with a drinks reception in the historic Casino de Madrid, the conference took in tours to Santiago Bernabéu, the home of Real Madrid Football Club, Santander, the Tower District and Telefonica as well as a compelling programme of plenaries and seminars.

Key headlines included:

Delegates warned of a quickening pace of obsolescence
Chairman of the Crown Estate and former Chairman of John Lewis Sir Stuart Hampson called on landlords to take a customer service approach to office occupiers as part of a wider debate around a increasing rate of obsolescence amongst commercial property stock in London due to changing occupier needs.

He was joined by Lord Norman Lamont, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Paul Myners, former Financial Services Secretary in HM Treasury and Conference Chairman Neil Thompson for the first plenary session, ‘A Brave New World’.

Commercial property sector urged to rally behind UK transport capacity needs
Delegates were told to rally behind four key priorities for improvements to the UK’s transport networks and its congestion constraints: reliability, value for money, sustainability and expansion of airport capacity in London and the South East.

Lord Adonis, Former Minister of State at the Department of Transport and Secretary of State for Transport, Professor David Begg, Director of the campaign for High Speed Rail, and Dame Helen Alexander CBE, Chairman of United Business Media, and of the Port of London Assembly spoke as part of the second plenary session, ‘Transport and Offices – Crisis, Delusion or the British Way?’

New research from the BCO showed occupiers are losing out on cost savings due a low understanding of BIM.
The BCO launched a new HOK authored research report on Building Information Modelling (BIM) for commercial office buildings at the conference, which found that developers that can provide BIM information to occupiers will enjoy a competitive advantage over their peers. Occupiers were found to be missing out on lower costs due to low awareness of BIM and low levels of integrated cross-disciplinary working. 

Regeneration of mixed-use development key to recovery of construction sector
Chief Executive of Brookfield Multiplex Construction Ashley Muldoon told delegates that regeneration projects that allow for the creation of innovative mixed-use office space would provide opportunities for growth in the struggling construction sector.

He was speaking as part of the ‘Breakfast with the Contractors’ seminar where delegates were recommended to develop a long-term game approach to property development through partnership; integration and collaboration at every stage of the supply chain.

Leading architects called for a one-size-fits all model to future proof property developments
Glen Howells (Glen Howells Architects) and Simon Allford (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris) called for a more sophisticated approach to mixed-use developments that don’t just accommodate different end users within a single entity but which offer one type of space that can be adapted for commercial, residential and retail occupiers.

BCO Conference delegates heard that British cycling approach holds the key to commercial property success.
Alinea Consulting Partner Mark Lacey told the ‘Vanity to Sanity’ seminar attendees that the sector needed to adopt the philosophy of British cycling coach Sir David Brailsford in focusing on “small incremental improvements” that will have a big impact across all elements of development.

It was an appropriate metaphor given the efforts of 54 cyclists to ride the 290 miles from Bilbao to Madrid, raising over £40,000 in the process for the conference charity, The Willow Foundation. The Willow Foundation is the only charity in the UK to provide positive and life-enhancing Special Days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds.

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